Tuesday, February 16, 2010


scapel Have you ever had a conversation in which someone lovingly put you in your place? You know what I’m talking about…with a few words they cut right to your heart and expose some ugliness that you didn’t realize was there. But once those words are spoken, you can’t avoid the ugliness that is now so obvious.

That happened to me tonight as I was sharing with a friend some of my frustration with the church that I have been venting on this blog. His words were simple and honest and cut me to the core. “Daryl, it sounds like to me that you are trusting in your own efforts instead of trusting in God. And, now that your own efforts aren’t working, you are blaming the church.” (That is a paraphrase of his words from my increasingly cloudy memory.)

Words like that don’t hurt unless they are true. But when they are… “Ouch!” Since I hung up the phone, God has continued to do surgery on my heart and attitude, and the cancerous gunk He has pulled out so far is ugly.

He is reminding me that He is our Caller, our Sustainer, and our Provider. He is the God of the harvest and will produce the needed harvest for His ministry through us. And, as a result, I need to stop acting like a pouting child and love His church, regardless of their response or my perception of their obedience. In fact, I need to stop focusing on their obedience at all. I have plenty to keep me busy in focusing on my own obedience.

When I forget these things I become worried, anxious, self-righteous, and downright pushy. I try to kick down doors instead of waiting to see the door that God is opening. And I become judgmental of everyone who won’t get on board with MY program and help ME kick. In short, I become a jerk. (I know, some of you are probably thinking this is my default setting!)

And so, the surgery continues. As the loving Surgeon does His work, I am very thankful that He is full of mercy and gentleness. And I am very thankful (and very sorry) that He has more patience with me than I have for His other children.

Forgive me, Lord. And (wince) keep cutting!

Friday, February 5, 2010

The Cry of the Blood

My friend, Dick Rutgers who ministers in Guatemala, read my blog from yesterday and sent me the following vision written by Amy Carmichael. She was a missionary in India, who opened an orphanage and founded a mission in Dohnavur. She served in India for fifty-five years without furlough. I was so overcome by her words that I felt I needed to post them here. She says it so much better than I ever could.

The Cry of the Blood

Amy_Carmichael The tom-toms thumped straight on all night and the darkness shuddered round me like a living, feeling thing. I could not go to sleep, so I lay awake and looked; and I saw, as it seemed, this: That I stood on a grassy sward, and at my feet a precipice broke sheer down into infinite space. I looked, but saw no bottom; only cloud shapes, black and furiously coiled, and great shadow-shrouded hollows, and unfathomable depths. Back I drew, dizzy at the depth.

Then I saw forms of people moving single file along the grass. They were making for the edge. There was a woman with a baby in her arms and another little child holding on to her dress. She was on the very verge. Then I saw that she was blind. She lifted her foot for the next step . . . it trod air. She was over, and the children over with her. Oh, the cry as they went over!

Then I saw more streams of people flowing from all quarters. All were blind, stone blind; all made straight for the precipice edge. There were shrieks, as they suddenly knew themselves falling, and a tossing up of helpless arms, catching, clutching at empty air. But some went over quietly, and fell without a sound.

Then I wondered, with a wonder that was simply agony, why no one stopped them at the edge. I could not. I was glued to the ground, and I could only call; though I strained and tried, only whisper would come.

Then I saw that along the edge there were sentries set at intervals. But the intervals were too great; there were wide, unguarded gaps between. And over these gaps the people fell in their blindness, quite unwarned; and the green grass seemed blood-red to me, and the gulf yawned like the mouth of hell.

Then I saw, like a little picture of peace, a group of people under some trees with their backs turned toward the gulf. They were making daisy chains. Sometimes when a piercing shriek cut the quiet air and reached them, it disturbed them and they thought it a rather vulgar noise. And if one of their number started up and wanted to go and do something to help, then all the others would pull that one down. “Why should you get so excited about it? You must wait for a definite call to go! You haven’t finished your daisy chain yet. It would be really selfish,” they said, “to leave us to finish the work alone.”

There was another group. It was made up of people whose great desire was to get more sentries out; but they found that very few wanted to go, and sometimes there were no sentries set for miles and miles of the edge.

Once a girl stood alone in her place, waving the people back; but her mother and other relations called and reminded her that her furlough was due; she must not break the rules. And being tired and needing a change, she had to go and rest for awhile; but no one was sent to guard her gap, and over and over the people fell, like a waterfall of souls.

Once a child caught at a tuft of grass that grew at the very brink of the gulf; it clung convulsively, and it called – but nobody seemed to hear. Then the roots of the grass gave way, and with a cry the child went over, its two little hands still holding tight to the torn-off bunch of grass. And the girl who longed to be back in her gap thought she heard the little one cry, and she sprang up and wanted to go; at which they reproved her, reminding her that no one is necessary anywhere; the gap would be well taken care of, they knew. And then they sang a hymn.

Then through the hymn came another sound like the pain of a million broken hearts wrung out in one full drop, one sob. And a horror of great darkness was upon me, for I knew what it was – the Cry of the Blood.

Then thundered a voice, the voice of the Lord. “And He said, ‘What hast thou done, The voice of thy brother’s blood crieth unto me from the ground.’”

The tom-toms still beat heavily, the darkness still shuddered and shivered about me; I heard the yells of the devil-dancers and weird, wild shriek of the devil-possessed just outside the gate.

What does it matter, after all? It has gone on for years; it will go on for years. Why make such a fuss about it?

God forgive us! God arouse us! Shame us out of our callousness! Shame us out of our sin.

- Amy Carmichael -

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Too Much Time on Our Hands

bag Recently I have seen some serious ugliness from the church. (Not from HeartLand, my home church, but other congregations.) I don’t know how else to say it. I won’t go into details because of the circumstances, but I will simply say that I have seen true people of God vilified, gossiped about, and ostracized due to what can only be called politics…the politics of personal vendettas and the politics of fear that keeps leadership from standing up for what is right. It has left me shaken and disillusioned.

If I could say that this is a rare occurrence in an overall healthy church I would simply grieve, pray, and move on. But it is not. In fact, this kind of ugliness has become indicative of the church today. Churches split, denominations argue, and somehow the ones who are serious about the Word of God and obedience to it are the ones who take the arrows.

So why do we see this kind of ugliness in the church? The answer is simple and straightforward…we have nothing better to do. Oh, we have our programs, church growth seminars, and services, but we lack mission. We argue about music styles, services, budgets and by-laws because we have no focus or awareness beyond them. And we honestly think if we tweak here or restructure there that the world will come running and fall at our altar.

Quite honestly, the world doesn’t care what the church has to say. They have heard way too many words and seen far too little action. They don’t believe the church cares about them, and if we had the courage to be honest with ourselves we would have to agree.

ignoring There is a world dying around us both spiritually and physically, and the typical church does little or nothing about it. We continue with our services and programs and offer a brief and passing prayer for “the lost and the needy” because we have more important things with which to deal today.

I want to find a way to turn this blog entry into something positive, but I am struggling to do so. I am angry. I am disillusioned. I am ashamed. But, as a result, I want more than anything to bring about change.

Maybe that is the positive of this blog. Maybe that is the answer. Maybe if enough believers get angry, disillusioned and ashamed of this institution called the church it will drive them to action. And that action will not be to attack other believers and split churches, but will be a ground-swell movement that leads them to create a new church from the foundation up. A church that cares about the world that is spiritually dead and physically dying. A church that has a mission instead of programs. A church that doesn’t have the time to fight one another.

The world is waiting, what will we do?